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Buddy Montgomery

An Amazingly Talented Muscian, Arranger and Composer- His music has been described as, Lyrical and fluid, with a warmth and grace that's hard to resist. Composer and arranger, pianist and vibraphonist, Buddy Montgomery's musical career has spanned nearly half a century. Born and raised in Indianapolis, Buddy was the youngest in a family of musical siblings. He was motivated to pursue a musical career by his older brothers, Thomas, Monk and Wes. But it was his sister Lena's piano playing that inspired Buddy to play the piano. Thomas, who died in his teens, was a drummer; Monk, a bassist; and Wes, a guitarist.

By the age of 18, Buddy was on the road with Big Joe Turner, a well-known blues singer. Upon returning home, he continued to work with his brothers and other Indianapolis musicians. Indianapolis was a hotbed of musical talent at that time and Buddy's biggest inspiration was a pianist by the name of Erroll Grandy.

In 1951, Buddy was drafted and served two years in the Army. Because he didn't read music, he was not allowed in the Army band. After his discharge, Buddy joined the Hampton Family band and worked at the Cotton Club in Cincinnati. He then returned to Indianapolis to join his brothers Monk and Wes, and two other musicians, Robert (Sonny) Johnson and Alonzo (Pookie) Johnson, forming the Montgomery Johnson Quintet.

Buddy has appeared with, recorded with, or arranged musical scores for most of the jazz greats, including George Shearing, Cannonball Adderly, Johnny Griffin, Ron Carter, John Coltrane and Wynton Kelly. He joined the Miles Davis Sextet in 1960. His stay with Miles was short because Buddy's fear of flying caused him to leave the band and his luggage just as their airplane started to taxi down the runway for a European tour. Throughout the 60's, Wes, Monk and Buddy, worked together whenever they could. They were on the road together in 1968 when Wes died of a heart attack at the early age of 45.

After that Buddy moved to Milwaukee, where he lived and worked for the next 12 years. He worked at two of Milwaukee's prestigious hotels, the Marc Plaza (now Hilton) in the Bombay Bicycle room and the Pfister Hotel. He formed the "Buddy Montgomery Trio" and because of his extraordinary ear for detecting talent he enlisted bassist Jeff Chambers and Sam Belton. Later Buddy expanded his trio to quartet to include new drummer "Killer" Ray Appleton and Duma Saafir on percussions. At times this group was expanded even further to a sextet.

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